A reasonable alternative to ultra-wide monitors would be more compact Full HD monitors with a fast and high-quality matrix, such as the 25-inch Acer Predator XB3 (XB253QGP).
Acer Predator XB253QGP: Design
In the appearance of the monitor, the continuity with other models in the Acer Predator line is preserved: quite strict, as for gaming peripherals, design, matte black plastic case, ruler logo on the leg (and in two places at once), minimal use of the corporate dark red color in the design and lack of color backlighting.
The screen is made in a frameless design: in the off state, the front surface is framed by a thin side frame; after switching on, as with other similar models, a ~ 5 mm wide frame, hidden under the protective surface of the screen, becomes visible.
The leg is not very massive, the base is in the form of a traditional metal “tripod”, which we have already seen in one form or another in other monitors of this line. It allows you to adjust the height (stroke 11.5 cm, in the lowest position the lower edge of the screen is at a height of 9 cm above the table level), tilt the screen (-5 ° .. + 25 °) and rotate it to the right and left (-20 ° .. + 20 °). The monitor has the ability to wall mount (VESA 100×100 is hidden under the mount of the leg to the display).
All connectors are located in a niche under the foot mount and are oriented downward; here you can find two HDMI 2.0 ports, one DisplayPort 1.2a, a mini-jack for connecting a headset and a USB hub with 2 USB 3.0 ports; 2 more of the same ports are placed on the side of the monitor.
At the top of the leg there is a folding “lever” on which you can hang a gaming headset or headphones.
Acer Predator XB253QGP: Menu
A 5-way joystick and 4 hardware buttons on the back of the case on the right are used to control the monitor. Pressing any button (except for power, of course) brings up a quick menu, in which the first two items can be reassigned by the user (by default, this is VRB activation and brightness), the third is the choice of video input, and the last one is to call the main menu.
The first item in it is “Image” – here you can adjust the brightness / contrast, reduce the amount of blue in the backlight, enable HDR, etc. The next item, “Color”, allows you to change the gamma and color temperature, in “Sound” you can adjust the volume of the built-in speakers (2×2 W), in the “Game” – enable matrix overdrive, adaptive frequency, low input lag and improve clarity in dynamic scenes with using item VRB. In the “OSD” there are parameters for the operation of the on-screen menu, in the last item, “System”, you can find other settings such as manual switching of video input, assigning custom functions to hot keys, selecting the black level for HDMI connection, etc.
Acer Predator XB253QGP: Functionality
The Acer Predator XB253QGP uses an 8-bit AHVA matrix (similar to IPS) M250HAN01.6 manufactured by AU Optronics with a resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels and a diagonal of 24.5 inches. The dot size is 0.2825 mm, the pixel density is ~ 90 PPI. From the usual distance to the screen, individual points are already beginning to be noticeable, but this does not cause much discomfort. The maximum refresh rate is 144 Hz, there is support for AMD FreeSync adaptive frequency technology and compatibility with NVIDIA G-Sync (both work in the 48 – 144 Hz frequency range).
The brightness in this monitor is regulated by varying the amperage, PWM is not applied across the entire brightness range, so the Acer Predator XB253QGP does not flicker. More precisely, it is not in normal operation: the monitor supports the technology to increase the clarity in dynamic game scenes by using the interlaced switching off of the matrix backlight – Visual Response Boost, or VRB. When switched on, the brightness is noticeably reduced and a subtle flicker appears, which may not be very comfortable for users with sensitive eyes. But the use of VRB almost completely eliminates motion blur and makes the game picture clear and clearly distinguishable even with fast camera turns. Finally, we note that VRB cannot be activated when AMD FreeSync is enabled or screen refresh rates are higher than 120 Hz.
The response time declared by the manufacturer is 2 ms (GtG), with the possibility of reducing it to values less than 1 ms (here we clearly mean the use of VRB). The real total input lag, which includes both the matrix response time and the signal propagation delay, ranges from 3 ms at a refresh rate of 144 Hz to just over 4 ms at a frequency of 60 Hz – an excellent indicator for a gaming monitor on a matrix made similar to IPS technology.
Picture quality Acer Predator XB253QGP
In the settings there is the possibility of overclocking the panel – the parameter “response time”, which can be set to the values ”normal” and “limit”, or completely disable it. In the “normal” mode, the smears are slightly reduced, in the “limit” the picture in dynamics becomes noticeably clearer, but moderate overdrive artifacts appear in the form of trails behind moving objects.
The monitor uses a semi-matte screen coating that almost completely eliminates parasitic glare and reflections, while minimizing the crystalline effect (slight graininess in monochromatic areas of the image, visible on conventional matte displays).
The uniformity of the backlighting is very good, in the test photo with a uniform black background it is almost impossible to see some lighter or, on the contrary, dark areas, no “leaks” of backlighting at the edges of the screen are also observed.
The glow effect of the Acer Predator XB253QGP is typical for AHVA panels: when viewed from above from different angles, the dark background glows from a rather bright blue to a very faint brown tint.
In terms of viewing angles, the monitor shows itself very well: even with a very strong deviation to the side, the brightness and contrast decrease slightly, while the color rendition also practically does not suffer.
The minimum brightness is 60 cd / m² – this is a fairly high value, with such a brightness you can comfortably play behind the monitor in low ambient light, but in complete darkness the screen will still feel very bright. The maximum brightness (average value based on the measurement results at 35 points of the screen) reaches 390 cd / m2, this allowed to implement basic support for HDR mode – the monitor has VESA DisplayHDR 400 certification. The static contrast ratio is at the level of 1250: 1, which is a very good indicator as for AHVA technology, and is significantly higher than the one declared by the manufacturer (1000: 1). White uniformity at maximum backlighting is also very good, with the maximum difference between the brightest and least bright areas not exceeding 10%.
The Acer Predator XB253QGP has a standard color gamut that covers 99% of the sRGB space, with a slight overlap in the purple and green areas. The most versatile video mode is Standard and offers versatile settings that will suit most monitor use cases.
In the menu “Color” – “Color Scheme” you can use the sRGB and Rec.709 emulation modes, in which the coverage is more precisely limited to the frames of the sRGB space and almost all picture settings are disabled, except for brightness, HDR activation, etc. Between themselves they differ mainly in the value of the color temperature, gamma (in the second mode, it is noticeably higher, which makes the shadows darker and deeper) and the initial brightness settings.
HDR activation minimally changes the picture – this is mainly manifested in slightly better detail in the shadows. However, given the relatively low, by HDR standards, maximum brightness, 8-bit panel, the absence of extended color gamut and local dimming of the backlight, it is difficult to expect more from this monitor.
In the settings there is a function to reduce the proportion of blue in the backlight, which makes the image warmer and more comfortable for the eyes, especially in the evening. This parameter has 4 degrees, from 80% to 50% in 10% steps – each of them reduces the color temperature by ~ 300-400K, at the maximum value this parameter reaches values of about 5000K.
Acer Predator XB253QGP is a good alternative to TN gaming monitors, because It offers a 144Hz refresh rate, support for both adaptive frequency scaling technologies, low response times and a reasonably clear dynamic image – all on an AHVA matrix with high image quality and wide viewing angles.
The only thing to find fault with here is the rather conditional HDR support and the presence of only standard color gamut.